Is it your first time in Prague? Get ready to be swept off your feet and into a lifelong tryst! As a first-timer, focus on capturing the city’s energy and unbelievable beauty. It’s ok to only scrape the surface. Over time, this love-at-first-sight will beckon you back to Prague and strengthen the bond between the two of you.
Here are 10 things to do in Prague for first-timers.
Walk across the Charles Bridge.
The Charles Bridge is the most iconic place in all of Prague and for good reason, too. Walking under the arched bridge tower entry, you’ll feel as if you’re stepping back to medieval times. The cobblestone path and the Baroque saint statues guide you across the Vltava River in what feels like an absolute fairytale. The best times to capture the essence of the bridge is as the sun is rising or late at night. Otherwise, the bridge fills with tourists and makes it all but impossible to take classic photos of the bridge.
Go to Old Town Square.
Gather in front of the Astronomical Clock Tower for the hourly show. (The show is underwhelming at best so no worries if you can’t see everything.) Listen to musicians play. Marvel at the architecture. Eat some roasted meat or a trdelnik. Touristy? Yes, surely. But, as a first-timer in Prague, you’ll sense the city’s pulse, its energy. If you can, wake up early to have the square to yourself. You’re sure to love this alone time with the city.
Visit Prague castle.
After you’ve spent time in Old Town Square and on the Charles Bridge in the early morning hours, make your way up the hill to Prague Castle. Take time to enjoy the sweeping views of the city and the river below. Plan to arrive when the castle opens for no ticket queues and fewer people. Wander through the complex and enjoy seeing sights like the Old Royal Palace with its grand hall and artistically supported ceiling. Don’t miss St. George’s Basilica and its pretty muraled altar and apse. Stroll along Golden Lane and visit the tiny, brightly colored houses still decorated with items from past residents.
Admire St. Vitus Church.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral is within the walls of the Prague Castle complex. The Gothic Cathedral dates back to the mid-1300s, with earlier religious structures on the site dating back 300 years earlier. Be sure to walk around the entire Cathedral. The spires, gargoyles, and flying buttresses are worth your time! Once inside, admire the Cathedral’s stained glass windows. They’re long and colorful, filling the Cathedral with light. The Cathedral also holds the remains of past Kings and Emperors. If you visit on a Sunday, parishioners attend Mass and St. Vitus is closed until Mass is finished.
Eat Trdelnik and Horice rolls.
Two sweet treats you’ll not want to miss! Trdelnik is a tube-shaped bread roasted over an open flame and coated with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. The warm bread with its crunchy outside and doughy inside is sold on the street for cheap and is the perfect snack for strolling.
Whether or not you typically enjoy a good beer, be sure to give one a try in Prague. It’s perfectly chilled and is as pure as the water from a mountain lake. There are places like the Prague Beer Museum (not really a museum, but bar) where you can try a beer flight. Be warned, though, because when it’s busy it’s quite a smokey place. Or just opt, instead, for anywhere you’d like to have a bite or settle in for a few drinks.
Explore the Jewish Quarter.
Once the only place Prague’s Jewish residents could be buried, the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague is believed to be the final resting place of more than 100,000 people despite its roughly 10,000 headstones. When space ran out, more Earth was added to make room for more people. The cemetery now serves as a peaceful, yet poignant, reminder of the catastrophic history Jewish residents throughout Central and Eastern Europe suffered. Combined tickets are available to view several sights in Prague’s Jewish Quarter, including the cemetery, the Spanish Synagogue, and the Old-New Synagogue.
Stroll the streets to admire the architecture.
Prague’s Baroque architecture and pretty pastel-colored buildings steal the show. Make time during your visit to stroll through Prague’s streets with your gaze upwards and your camera out. The ornate details on the buildings range from delicate spirals to sensational sculptures of winged angels. Look for buildings with sgraffito, walls covered with tinted layers of plaster giving the appearance of painted scenes covering the building’s facade. It’s during walks like this where you’ll truly grasp Prague’s fairytale charm.
Visit Kampa Island and the John Lennon Wall.
As you make your way across the Charles Bridge, head down the staircases on the left or right to Kampa Island. Walk through the cobblestoned streets along the canals. There are vendors and shops selling snacks, sausages, and beer. Or choose to sit along the water at one of the cafes. Find your way to the island’s small park and the nearby John Lennon Wall. The painted wall is a living piece of art with Beatles lyrics and tributes to John Lennon being regularly added and modified.
Climb the Astronomical Clock Tower and the Charles Bridge Tower.
Aside from waking early, your best vantage points to see Prague and take photos is from up above. Prague’s surrounding hills have parks, Castles, forts, and ramparts to view the city from a bird’s perspective. Climbing the Astronomical Clock Tower and Charles Bridge Tower gives an overhead view of Old Town Square, the Vltava River, and Prague’s many-spired, orange rooftops. While the Clock Tower was busy, we had the views from the Bridge Tower all to ourselves. Shhh…It’s as if no one knows about this vantage point.